It was just two weeks ago that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appeared on MSNBC and shared his thought about who Hillary Clinton shouldn’t choose as his running mate. The Nevada senator, wrapping up his lengthy career, told Joy Reid he doesn’t want Clinton to choose a senator from a state with a Republican governor.
“If we have a Republican governor in any of those states, the answer is not only ‘no,’ but ‘hell no,’” the Democratic leader said, adding that he’s prepared to “yell and scream to stop that.”
Such a position would automatically rule out some high-profile Democratic stalwarts, most notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). But in an interesting twist, the Boston Globe reported the other day that Harry Reid “has been actively reviewing Massachusetts rules” for filling a U.S. Senate vacancy, and he’s changed his tune a bit from two weeks ago.
“Reid sees a number of promising paths to making sure that Democrats keep Warren’s seat and is very open to her being selected,” said this person, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. […]Reid commissioned a review by Washington election law attorney Marc Elias (who is also the general counsel to the Clinton campaign, and has advised Warren on legal matters in the past). The review only focused on Massachusetts, and Reid did not conduct such a follow-up review on any other state, according to the person source close to Reid.
As the Globe’s report explained, Warren would file a resignation letter with the Senate, thereby starting the clock on a special election to be held within 145 to 160 days. The thinking is, Massachusetts voters would choose Warren’s successor, and if he or she is a Democrat, he or she would take office early in the new year and not undermine the party’s drive to claim a majority in the chamber.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because Reid’s legal advice is largely in line with what I reported as a possible outcome two weeks ago.
The strategy is not without risk. If Clinton were to tap Warren for the Democratic ticket, and Warren followed the carefully timed resignation gameplan, Warren would obviously have to hope for a national victory – because without one, she’d either be out of office altogether or she’d awkwardly have to run in the special election created by her own resignation.
The broader point of interest, though, is the fact that Harry Reid was interested enough in the idea of a Warren vice presidential nomination that he sought legal guidance from an election-law expert.
If the Massachusetts Democrat stood no real chance of being considered for the ticket, the Minority Leader probably wouldn’t have bothered.